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Jobs in arts marketing poorly paid, says survey

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Arts marketing in London suffers from poor salary levels, high staff turnover and over-stretched budgets, according to a survey conducted by Market and Opinion Research International.

The survey, commissioned by marketing consultancy London Calling took place between September 15 and October 13 and was completed by key decision makers in 78 organisations across the capital. These ranged from large arts institutions and visitor attractions to small scale independent producers.

It discovered that people in entry level posts in arts marketing currently earn £15,650 a year on average, with mid-range positions averaging £20,000 and higher level jobs £28,000. Salaries for staff in the performing arts were on average lower than in the non-performing categories across all levels of staff.

A direct correlation between salary and staff turnover was highlighted by the survey. It found that junior workers remain in their jobs on average for under two years, those in mid-range posts under three years and staff in higher level positions under four and a half years.

John Nicholls, managing director of London Calling, commented: “Our survey highlights what has been common knowledge for many years within the arts and leisure industries in terms of salary levels but when set against periods of staff retention, the longer term consequences become truly evident.

“High staff turnover leads inevitably to loss of institutional knowledge and higher recruitment costs. Salaries at these levels, despite many restrictions on budgets overall, could be a false economy.”

The survey reveals that organisations are constrained with respect to use of research and are unable to move funds away from other elements of current marketing to carry out market research. Nine out of ten people asked stated that a “sufficient budget” to undertake or commission research would be of use and a similar number stated that a budget to act upon research findings would prove useful.

Staff were keen to explore e-marketing solutions with 90% of people seeing it as increasing in significance against other areas of marketing technique. However more than half believed that they were in need of further training and support to capitalise on the opportunities offered by this approach.

The report also drew attention to the fact that four out of five cultural institutions in the capital are without a contingency plan to deal with a sharp fall in visitors caused by external factors such as an actual or threatened terrorist attack on London. While 63% of respondents stated that no such plans existed, a further 17% said that they did not know of any such provisions.

Nicholls added: “Given the massive financial contributions made by the tourism and leisure sectors to the capital’s economy, this could spell disaster for much of the capital’s arts community.”

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